Samsung Electronics, the world's largest electronics and information technology company headquartered in Suwon, South Korea has teamed up with Adidas, the German sportswear giant, to launch miCoach - a pedometer, heart rate monitor, MP3 player and a cell phone, all rolled into one.
miCoach is the most advanced interactive training system in the marketplace, blending sophisticated mobile technology with the most advanced in sport innovation and training, said Eric Liedtke, VP of Adidas Brand Marketing. The uniqueness of miCoach is that it collects and analyzes personal data and then customizes training plans based on your fitness level and specific goals, while giving you real-time feedback during your workout via the miCoach phone.
Primarily, miCoach training system includes a quad band slider phone from Samsung acting as a fitness trainer, a heart rate monitor tuning into the rhythm of the user's body, a stride sensor to measure speed and distance while running and a web workout journal to help people design and keep track of fitness programs.
With SGH-F110 miCoach, users can get the 'personalized trainer' feel as the system encourages them as they run, telling them to speed up if they aren't keeping pace, and giving them updates on their heart rate, time left in their run, and more. Users are offered several targets, such as a certain period elapsing or asking the user to pace their progress further to achieve a desired level. Together with that the system also provides training tips and time updates during workouts.
All the information that the miCoach system reads is stored on the phone itself, and can later be checked, or uploaded to the miCoach fitness website. And using the data collected from the two sensors, the device analyzes and creates a personalized training program based on individual fitness level.
The miCoach mobile phone, SGH-F110 is a slim, 14.5-millimeter thick slider handset with a 2-inch LCD screen with a textured back to offer better grip. It comes in seven colors, including pink, red, dark gray, sapphire and silver. The handset includes a 2-megapixel camera and offers USB as well as Bluetooth connectivity.
miCoach is the latest in a series of gadgets aimed at health conscious gadget fans, following on from the Nike+ iPod alliance, and preceding Nintendo's forthcoming Wii Fit computer game.
Apple and Nike started the craze by introducing the Nike+iPod sports kit in the U.S. in July, 2006 aimed at people with active lifestyles.
The Nike+iPod system also keeps track of workouts, telling runners the distance traveled, calories burned and other information informing the user via earphones, as well as on the iPod display screen.
But the part where miCoach scores is that the user gets a Samsung mobile phone, while in the earlier combo the Apple one is just a music player. Any runner can stop their music and workout by pressing a button on the miCoach, then answer a phone call.
Though with the current offering of 1Gb memory they could have done better as comparatively the iPod Nano comes in 4Gb and 8Gb capacities.
The costing is another part to be considered. Samsung-Adidas buyers will pay around $612 for the deluxe kit with the miCoach mobile phone, heart monitor, shoe sensor and more. On the other hand, Nike+iPod combo sells for $328, which includes an 8Gb iPod Nano, a $100 Nike shoe gift card, a 30-minute iTunes card and the Nike+ Sports kit.
However, the Samsung-Adidas system does not tie a user to a specific brand of shoe like the Nike+iPod system does. The sensor sold with the Samsung - Adidas system fits on the laces of a runner's shoes, while the sensor in the Nike+iPod system is built into the shoe. This indeed could be a clinching pointer.
The miCoach has been launched first in Germany, with awaited release in the rest of Europe by the end of March, as Sophia Kim, a Samsung representative stated.
At least two different kits will be sold through Samsung mobile phone retail outlets and Adidas stores. The basic kit, which includes the miCoach mobile phone and arm band, will cost around $306, while the deluxe kit, which also includes the shoe-sensor, heart monitor and more, will cost about $612.
Prices have not been officially set yet, nor has a time frame to enter North America or Asia, Kim said.
Adidas designed the monitoring systems for the miCoach package, as well as the Web-based coaching and training system, Kim added. The two companies are now strategizing together on sales and marketing.
Samsung Electronics is part of the Samsung Group, South Korea's largest conglomerate and the global market leader in more than 60 products. Its strong performance, both in terms of financial results and product design, has been recognized by various industry awards and rankings.
It has been recognized as 'The fastest Growing Global' brand, by Business Week/Interbrand and is ranked amongst the top technology leaders in the world. Samsung is currently ranked 21st in the list of top 100 global brands.